Optimization of Solvent Extraction of Oil from Watermelon (Citrullus lanata) and its Fatty
Acid Characterization
1Babatunde, K. A., 2Osuolale, F.N., 3Agbede, O. O., 4Olafimihan, E. O, 5Ogunsola, A. D.
1, 2, 3 Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering and technology Ladoke Akintola
University of Technology Ogbomoso, Nigeria
4, 5 Mechanical Engineering Department Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Ladoke
Akintola University of Technology Ogbomoso, Nigeria
*Corresponding authors’ e-mail: fnosuolale@lautech.edu.ng



Watermelon also known as Citrullus lanata is one of the major underutilized fruits grown in the warmer part of the world. Over the years, with respect to the high rate of production of watermelon along with lack of consciousness of the benefits, its seed has suffered negligence and consequently become waste. Due to the growing awareness of the usage of seed oil; there is need to maximize the use and identify the appropriate sets of parameters necessary for the optimum extraction of the oil. This research looked at the parametric effect of hot continuous extraction process at 60-700Cfor watermelon seed using response surface methodology, Box Behnken design with 3 variables which are time of extraction, solvent volume and size particle of 30-50 mins, 100-200 ml and 4-10 μm respectively. The optimized solution indicates that the time of extraction of 50 mins, 199.99 ml of solvent with 10 μm of size particle give the maximum oil yield of 68% compared to the maximum experimental oil yield of 52.5%. Free fatty acid (FFA) content in the oil was determined using (Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists), 2000 method which gives 17.35%, (higher than 1.0% standard) indicating the need to reduce the FFA content in the oil before the production of biodiesel to avoid low fatty methyl ester (FAME) production against high soap formation.

Keywords: Optimization, Watermelon, Solvent extraction, Box Behnken and Free fatty acid.

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